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Darren Bent scored his first goal since August but a former Spur ensured it did not turn out out to be a winning strike at the Riverside.

Darren Bent scored his first goal since August but a former Spur ensured it did not turn out out to be a winning strike at the Riverside.

Three changes were made from the team that defeated Blackpool on Wednesday, with Kevin Prince Boateng drafted into midfield in place of Didier Zokora, while the Partnership of Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe took over from Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov.

Five minutes in we could well have fallen behind as Tuncay took everyone by surprise by keeping the ball in on the right flank, before Gary O'Neil took advantage and was able to drill over a low cross that just needed Stewart Downing to slide in and apply the finish. Thankfully his slide was a little late and the ball had already fizzed past.

Fabio Rochemback was not to far away from 20 yards as we approached the 20 minute point, a period of time that saw the home side in charge and untroubled defensively. There was half an opening when Defoe spun in the area and picked out Bent, but Chris Riggott was alert to the danger before the striker could pounce.

It was Steed Malbranque who really turned the tide in the 35th minute with a challenge on Luke Young that set Bent speeding away down the left channel. The powerful front man deceived his marker Riggott on the edge of the area before driving a low shot past the despairing dive of Mark Schwarzer to his near post.

It was a goal against the overall run of play, but Bent will care little as it represented his third competitive goal since joining and only his second in the Premier League this term - the other coming against Derby in our third game of the season.

Belief appeared to be spreading throughout the side and ambition was increasing. Bent could have bagged another after game play from Defoe in carving out a cross from inside the area under considerable pressure. Counter attacking also began to look like yielding profit.

Boro displayed a renewed vigour in the minutes after the interval and, from a Rochemback free-kick, David Wheater's flicked header forced a smart tip around the post from Paul Robinson.

The home fans did not have to wait too long to celebrate a leveller and it came from the unlikely source of Luke Young, the full-back advancing onto a headed clearance and smashing the ball past Robinson and into the top corner from 20-plus yards in the 52nd minute.

The Head Coach opted to change his strikeforce in the 58th minute in a bid to enliven a team that was showing a degree a panic in its play. Minutes later Zokora took over from Boateng as the initiative was being eased back.

Nothing clear cut was being created by either side and it could not be claimed that this was an encounter of huge quality. Gareth Southgate introduced Dong Gook Lee and George Boateng for the final 13 minutes.

Berbatov shot over the bar before Jermaine Jenas brilliantly swerved his marker and accelerated into the area before dispatching a cross-goal pass that proved a little too deceptive for both defenders and attackers.

We pressed for that valuable winner as the clocked ticked into three minutes added time, but a couple of scrambles at either end came to nothing and both sides had to settle for a point.